St. John’s Episcopal Church
207 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. November 19, 2020

    Sock-it-to-YOU!

    Let’s get moving on the People’s Place Project Santa Sock Drive!

    What did one new sock say to the other? “Great things are afoot!”

    It’s Project Santa time again and we’ve been asked by our friends at People’s Place to host a sock drive. All sizes and shapes of new socks will be needed. Plain socks, character socks, slipper socks, heavy winter socks, crew socks and knee socks are needed for infants all the way up to 14 year-old boys and girls. Your donations of new, quality socks will warm the toes and hearts of our young neighbors. Please be generous.

    You can drop off the socks in the box by the rectory.  Or send a check to the church with “SOCK DRIVE” in the note line and we will shop for you.  All donations must be dropped off no later than Sunday, December 6th.

    Thank you from Elaine Lawrence and Deacon Sue on behalf of the Outreach Committee.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Tending Our Light

    Our weekly offering of goodness to help keep our spirits buoyed and our mental health on track through the darker months of winter.

    We at St. John’s, along with just about every other faith community across the world, have become used to worshipping at home.  Thankfully, internet platforms offer us a way to see and hear one another as well as be together for common worship.  But that doesn’t replace the special feel that a church building can be for us, a literal sanctuary that holds our prayers and where we are reminded of God’s love by the beauty, memories, and hope that have a home there.

    A few folks at St. John’s have been scheming to help us all create a sacred space in our homes, a sanctuary within a sanctuary, for the coming seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.  Roxanne Ferber, Leah Siuta, Cathe Decker, and Rev. Michelle are putting together Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Boxes to assist with your at-home worship through the next few seasons.  These boxes will be filled with worship practices and items as well as simple crafts – for adults and kids – to help us create sacred spaces in our homes since we cannot be together in the St. John’s Sanctuary for these seasons.

    Be sure to sign up now for your Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Box!  If you would like to have children’s crafts, we need to know that too!  Most importantly, we need your name on or before Monday, Nov. 23 so that we can plan for enough materials.  The Boxes will be delivered by Rev. Michelle on Sunday, Nov. 29, the first day of Advent.

    Then, look for new videos on our youtube channel that will offer stories and instruction to go along with the Boxes.  We’ll keep you informed about new videos as they are posted in this Newsletter.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    On Cycles and Hope

    Dear Ones: As many of you know, Ana and I expanded our garden this year and jumped into the world of growing vegetables.  This came along with growing most things from seeds, which I found to be thrilling and frustrating at the same time.  Mostly, however, it was joyful and lifegiving and truly sustained me during these past months of the pandemic.

    We had a huge crop of 4 different kinds of tomatoes along with the delicata squash, jalapeno peppers, radishes, lettuces, spinach, onions, cucumbers, potatoes, snap peas, and green beans.  We also continued growing herbs and flowers.  It was so much fun and an incredible learning experience.  Ana has done this before so she was senior advisor to me, along with Monty Don, our favorite television gardener (you can learn more about him here).  And I did my best to share it all with you all via Instagram and Facebook.

    Then, our first frost came in late October.  Of course, this signaled to us the end of the growing season and we began the process of putting the garden to bed for the winter so the soil and the beds would be in good shape for spring planting.  We removed all the vegetation as we said thank you for all of the hope that the earth and these plants gave us this year during such a time of confusion, fear, and grief.  And as I placed the remnants of these plants into our compost piles, instead of feeling a sense of loss, I found myself filled with hope.  Because I realized that we were clearing the space for something new to grow.

    I was watching a show about gardening recently where a British journalist was being interviewed.  During the course of the interview, she explained just how much her family has gone through and is still going through due to the pandemic.  And she said one of the most inspiring things, “You can’t think short-term in a garden.  You have to plan; you have to have hope.  You have to invest in a future.  You don’t plant something unless you believe it’s going to come up.”

    Just thinking about all that we can grow in the coming year, fills me with hope.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for November 22, 2020

    Sign up today! To receive your Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Worship Box.   Each box is filled with items for your home worship through the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.  And if you have children, we’ll send along some seasonal crafts too!  The boxes will be delivered on Sunday, November 29, the first day of Advent.  The deadline to sign-up is Monday, Nov 23.  Click here: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/advent-christmas-epiphany-box-sign-up/

    Please continue to send your pledges in!  Drop off your pledge leaves and pledge form at the Rectory or mail them in and we’ll continue putting them on the tree.  Using the theme of Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed, we’re focusing on how all of our giving – time, talent, treasure – is the seed that grows our St. John’s community.  If you did not receive a letter, please contact Lynn Dennison from the Stewardship Committee.

    Gathering in Gratitude – the annual Kingston Interfaith Council’s Thanksgiving celebration will be held online this year on Tuesday, November 24 at 7:00 pm.  This year’s celebration will feature important teachings on home and homelessness as well as musical presentations and readings.  Click here for more information: https://www.kingstoninterfaithcouncil.org/events-1/interfaith-thanksgiving-service

    Ministry Opportunities

     Angel Food East Does Thanksgiving!  Join the fun (it really is fun!) of preparing Thanksgiving for over 200 people – we’re looking for people to help cook and people to help pack the food into containers.  Shifts are available all day on Monday – Wednesday, November 23-25.  Speak with Rev. Michelle for more info!

     People’s Place Project Santa Sock Drive!  What did one new sock say to the other? “Great things are afoot!”  It’s Project Santa time again and we’ve been asked by our friends at People’s Place to host a sock drive. All sizes and shapes of new socks will be needed. Plain socks, character socks, slipper socks, heavy winter socks, crew socks and knee socks are needed for infants all the way up to 14 year-old boys and girls. Your donations of new, quality socks will warm the toes and hearts of our young neighbors. Please be generous.  You can drop off the socks in the box by the rectory or make a donation and we will shop for you.  All donations must be dropped off no later than Sunday, December 6th.  Thank you from Elaine Lawrence and Deacon Sue on behalf of the Outreach Committee.

    Children’s New Book Drive: Family of Woodstock is in need of books for children who are in or are leaving shelters.  If you are coming to in-person church, please consider bringing a new children’s book (all ages).  Or send a donation to the church (207 Albany Ave) and we will do the shopping.  Questions? Contact Outreach Coordinator Elaine (845-532-6585) or Deacon Sue (845-331-5575).

     

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to 
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  2. November 12, 2020

    The 244th Convention of the Diocese of New York

    Deacon Sue and Claudette Ford watch as Bp. Andy Dietsche addresses convention.

    Every diocese in the Episcopal Church has a convention each year to elect deputies to General Convention, members of diocesan committees and boards, and make decisions about our common life together.  This normally happens as an in-person event with people coming together for 1-2 days and, because of the pandemic, all the dioceses across the church had to do things very differently.

    Over the past 2 months, Rev. Michelle, Deacon Sue, and our warden, Claudette Ford, have all been attending weekly meetings to listen to reports and pray together.  These meetings culminated this year in one final meeting, held over Zoom, on Saturday, November 7.  We all listened and watched as our bishops, Andy Dietsche, Mary Glasspool, and Allen Shin, addressed the hundreds of online attendees.  And we all voted remotely through our computers to pass the budget and elect people into their ministries for the coming years.

    You can read the official report of diocesan convention, read/watch the bishops’ addresses, as well as review the budget for 2021 by clicking here.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Tending Our Light

    Our weekly offering of goodness to help keep our spirits buoyed and our mental health on track through the darker months of winter.

    Each week you look forward to this newsletter from St. John’s (hopefully!).  Well, there are some organizations that offer daily or weekly emails – short notes of interest or inspiration.  It’s a wonderful way to keep the bigger picture in your sight each day and reconnect with the part of yourself that wonders and searches for new ways to engage the world.  Here are a few links where you can sign up for a daily or weekly inspirational email.  If you know of any others, please send them along to Rev. Michelle so she can pass them on to others.

    Brain Pickings – An inventory of the meaning of life (and some great things for kids too!), cultivated by Maria Popova.
    Gratefulness.org – The work of Brother David Steindl-Rast through the Network for Grateful Living.
    Center for Action and Contemplation – A spiritual center for contemplatives, connecting our spiritual selves to the world in which we live.
    Yes! Magazine – Stories of positive change and amazing, inspiring people.
    StoryCorps – Personal stories told by real people about building connections and creating a more compassionate world.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    The Gift of Ministry

    Dear Ones: In my sermons the past couple of weeks, I’ve been preaching about the importance of tending to our light, of surrendering to Love so that we can experience that love ourselves and become a bridge of God’s Love ourselves.

    In 12-step spirituality, those who attend meetings are expected to spend time being of service to others as a part of the program.  Those who developed this life-giving 12-step framework realized that, when we are too focused on how we think we’re failing or what we think we’re not getting, we are in danger of losing ourselves in self-judgment, anger, and depression.  However, when we spend time in active service to others, we are reminded that others have the same struggles we do, our lives suddenly seem more manageable and satisfying and our troubles less pressing.

    So, a significant part of tending our light is to be of service.  In Christianity we call this ministry, of course.  I realize that we tend to think of the things we do at church as ministry – acolytes, lectors, altar guild, choir, etc.  But ministry happens whenever we offer ourselves in service to another because being of service to another person is being of service to God.

    Especially this year, when our holidays are disrupted by the pandemic, I promise that being of service will be a gift to you.  To take the time to put aside your own concerns and focus on helping others, even if its for just a few hours, will be a boon to your spirit and will mean a lot to those you help.  Please take a good look at the Ministry Opportunities listed in our announcements each week.  There are several opportunities listed already and more will be coming.

    Give yourself the gift of ministry.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for November 15, 2020

    Wednesday Morning with Terry is back!  Join Terry Earles at 10:00 am every Wednesday as he offers 30 minutes of music and musical tidbits from the St. John’s Sanctuary.  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84863654470

    The Page Turners: Our December selection is ‘The Mountains Sing,’ by Nguyen Phan Que Mai.  This discussion will be on December 1st. All are welcome!  Contact Lynn Dennison at: radennison@aol.com for more information.

    The 2020 Pledge Campaign ends… but please continue to send your pledges!  Drop off your leaves and pledge form at the Rectory or mail them in and we’ll continue putting them on the tree.  Using the theme of Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed, we’re focusing on how all of our giving – time, talent, treasure – is the seed that grows our St. John’s community.  If you did not receive a letter, please contact Lynn Dennison from the Stewardship Committee.

    Gathering in Gratitude – the annual Kingston Interfaith Council’s Thanksgiving celebration will be held online this year on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:00 pm.  This year’s celebration will feature important teachings on home and homelessness as well as musical presentations and readings.  Click here for more information: https://www.kingstoninterfaithcouncil.org/events-1/interfaith-thanksgiving-service

     

    Ministry Opportunities

    Children’s New Book Drive: Family of Woodstock is in need of books for children who are in or are leaving shelters.  If you are coming to in-person church, please consider bringing a new children’s book (all ages).  Or send a donation to the church (207 Albany Ave) and we will do the shopping.  Questions? Contact Outreach Coordinator Elaine (845-532-6585) or Deacon Sue (845-331-5575).

    People’s Place Project Santa Sock Drive!  What did one new sock say to the other? “Great things are afoot!”  It’s Project Santa time again and we’ve been asked by our friends at People’s Place to host a sock drive. All sizes and shapes of new socks will be needed. Plain socks, character socks, slipper socks, heavy winter socks, crew socks and knee socks are needed for infants all the way up to 14 year-old boys and girls. Your donations of new, quality socks will warm the toes and hearts of our young neighbors. Please be generous.  You can drop off the socks in the box by the rectory or make a donation and we will shop for you.  All donations must be dropped off no later than Sunday, December 6th.  Thank you from Elaine Lawrence and Deacon Sue on behalf of the Outreach Committee.

    Angel Food East Does Thanksgiving!  Join the fun (it really is fun!) of preparing Thanksgiving for over 200 people – we’re looking for people to help cook and people to help pack the food into containers.  Shifts are available throughout the day and evening on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 23-25.  Speak with Rev. Michelle for more info!

     

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to 
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  3. November 5, 2020

    Keeping Us Healthy: A Change in Our Worship Pattern

    The pandemic has taught us many things this year, especially the importance of community.  And we’ve known for a while that we would see an uptick in cases over the fall/winter months.  Of course, we were hoping this increase would come a little later, but Ulster County has begun to see a rise in COVID cases.  Therefore, to keep the St. John’s community healthy, we are shifting our worship pattern.

    Beginning this Sunday on November 8, we will follow this pattern for Sunday worship:

    • 10:00 am: The Liturgy of the Word will be broadcast from the Sanctuary through Zoom.  Our Music Director and Cantor will be the only people in the Sanctuary along with the clergy.  Readings, hymns, prayers, and announcements will all take place during this part of the service which will end at approximately 11:00 am., similar to how we worshipped over the spring and summer months.  This will also be available via Facebook Live.
    • 11:45 am: The Liturgy of the Table will take place in the Sanctuary and will not be broadcast over Zoom.  As a continuation of what we begin at 10:00 am, for those who would like to come and receive Communion, Rev. Michelle will bless and offer this sacrament (in bread only) every Sunday.  There will be no hymns or readings so this part of the service will take no longer than 15-20 minutes.

    In addition to keeping us safe, this pattern will enable us to worship as a fuller community online and still participate in the sacrament of Eucharist through the winter.  Please note: The funeral for Doreen Goodwin will still take place as an in-person Eucharist (and broadcast over Zoom) on Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 am.

    As was announced via email last week, we are also looking into improving the online experience, primarily through better audio/video equipment.  So, if you’d like to contribute to this, please email Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.

     

    Tending Our Light

    This coming Sunday the gospel lesson is the parable of the bridesmaids, where there are 5 “foolish” and 5 “wise” bridesmaids.  And the parable teaches us through the seemingly simple question of whether they have enough oil for their oil lamps.  In other words, are they tending well to their own lights?  And, I have to say, I couldn’t have planned a better parable to continue the conversation about how to take care of ourselves in the coming months.

    So we’ll have a spot in the Weekly Good News called, Tending Our Light.  Every week, I’ll offer something to help keep our spirits buoyed and our mental health on track.

    This week we’ll begin with a movie that’s available on Netflix and Disney channels called, My Octopus Teacher (thank you to the Rev. Susan Auchincloss for the recommendation!).  Yes, it’s a bit of a clunky title.  It’s a documentary about a man who has hit a low point in his life and finds a way to rekindle his own light.  It’s an inspiring story of interconnectedness, life, and healing and is told with absolutely stunning underwater photography.

    Now, if you don’t have Netflix or Disney (or even if you do), I invite you to joins me as I re-watch it via Zoom on Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 pm.  So order your pizza or pop your popcorn and then click here to join the watch party.   Rev. Michelle

    A Christian Response

    Dear Ones:  While we are in the midst of election returns during one of the most divisive and important elections, at least, in my own lifetime, I invite us to reflect on our faith.  What does our Christian faith tell us?  What can we learn from the witness of Jesus the Christ that is applicable to what’s currently happening?

    Before I could gather my own thoughts on Wednesday morning, I was offered this beautiful post, written by one of my friends, Brother Aiden, who is a monk right down the road at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park.  I realized upon reading it that it was exactly what I needed to hear and I could not have said it any better myself.  So, I ask that you take the time to read this insightful and grounding reflection from Brother Aiden to help see this election from the perspective of the gospel witness.  Click here to read.

    May you receive peace and hope from his words.  I know I have.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

     

    Announcements for November 8, 2020

    Wednesday Morning with Terry is back!  Join Terry Earles at 10:00 am every Wednesday as he offers 30 minutes of music and musical tidbits from the St. John’s Sanctuary. Click here to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84863654470

    The Page Turners: Will meet by Zoom on November 10th to discuss ‘Caste,’ by Isabel Wilkerson (date changed because of Election Day).  Our December selection is ‘The Mountains Sing,’ by Nguyen Phan Que Mai.  This discussion will be on December 1st. All are welcome!  Contact Lynn Dennison at: radennison@aol.com for more information.

    The 2020 Pledge Campaign Continues!  By now, you’ve received a letter from our Stewardship Committee to announce this year’s campaign.  Using the theme of Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed, we’re focusing on how all of our giving – time, talent, treasure – is the seed that grows our St. John’s community.  Look for your letter and your opportunity to pledge! And then, drop off your leaves at the Rectory or mail them in.  We’ll make sure they get placed on the tree so that by November 15, when the Pledge Campaign is over, we’ll have the tree full of color.

    Gathering in Gratitude – the annual Kingston Interfaith Council’s Thanksgiving celebration will be held online this year on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:00 pm.  This year’s celebration will feature important teachings on home and homelessness as well as musical presentations and readings.  Click here for more information: https://www.kingstoninterfaithcouncil.org/events-1/interfaith-thanksgiving-service

    A gentle reminder that the Funeral Eucharist for our dear friend and longtime parishioner, Doreen Goodwin, will take place this coming Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 am.  This is an in-person worship.  Look for a link to watch online via Zoom on the St. John’s website.

    Ministry Opportunities

    Children’s New Book Drive: Family of Woodstock is in need of books for children who are in or are leaving shelters.  If you are coming to in-person church, please consider bringing a new children’s book (all ages).  Or send a donation to the church (207 Albany Ave) and we will do the shopping.  Questions? Contact Outreach Coordinator Elaine (845-532-6585) or Deacon Sue (845-331-5575).

    People’s Place Project Santa Sock Drive!  What did one new sock say to the other? “Great things are afoot!”  It’s Project Santa time again and we’ve been asked by our friends at People’s Place to host a sock drive. All sizes and shapes of new socks will be needed. Plain socks, character socks, slipper socks, heavy winter socks, crew socks and knee socks are needed for infants all the way up to 14 year-old boys and girls. Your donations of new, quality socks will warm the toes and hearts of our young neighbors. Please be generous.  You can drop off the socks in the box by the rectory or make a donation and we will shop for you.  All donations must be dropped off no later than Sunday, December 6th.  Thank you from Elaine Lawrence and Deacon Sue on behalf of the Outreach Committee.

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.